Family cleaning up after tornado

Published 6:00 am Monday, November 29, 2004

BOGUE CHITTO – Family members continued clean up efforts Fridayafter an apparent tornado touched down near James B. Williams’ LazyTrail home during Tuesday night’s storm.

“All at once, it sounded like a stick of dynamite exploded inthe air, with a really loud echo behind it,” said Williams, 81, ashe recalled the incident Friday afternoon.

Williams said the tornado hit shortly before 3 a.m. Wednesday.He and his wife Jeanette, 69, had just received a call from theirdaughter Belinda Russell, who lives in Puckett, warning them of astorm in Lincoln County.

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“The next thing we know there were trees falling everywhere,” hesaid. “In two minutes, it was all over.”

Williams said he and his wife didn’t sleep for the rest of thenight.

“When daylight came, this was a big shock,” he said.

Williams estimated that hundreds of trees fell across his 117acres in southern Lincoln County. While several other buildingswere heavily damaged, Williams said their home sustained only minordamage, and no one was injured.

“The hand of God was on this house,” said Russell, whose husbandLarry is pastor at Union Baptist Church in Puckett.

Williams said a calf that had been in a small barn was found onthe back porch after the storm.

“She was waiting for me to come feed her,” he said.

Family members said the area around Williams’ property was theonly area damaged by the tornado.

“It just dipped down in this area,” Russell said.

In addition to his property, Williams said Lazy Trail was filledwith trees.

“There was no way to get anybody in here whatsoever,” saidWilliams, adding that county crews and volunteer firefightershelped clear the road later Wednesday morning.

In addition to the Russells and their sons Steven and Jason,Williams’ son Byron and his wife Kathy and children Jonathan andAlice Anne came from Starkville to help with clean up.

“You can kiss the lawn mower goodbye,” Steven Russell said as hesifted through debris from a storage building.

James Williams said the building, built in 1955, was once usedas smokehouse, but now was used for storage. Four trees hit thebuilding during the storm.

Williams estimated there were thousands of dollars in damage tothe property and the buildings. An insurance adjuster was comingMonday to view the damage.

Lincoln County Civil Defense Director Clifford Galey visited thehome Friday afternoon. He speculated the damage could have beendone by a tornado or possibly a straight line wind.

“It knocked down some big trees that have been here a longtime,” Galey said.

Galey was unaware of the tornado damage until Friday morningwhen Belinda Russell called his office. He said the NationalWeather Service indicated some tornadic activity in the county, butnothing was reported to the civil defense office.

“We assumed nothing happened because nobody called,” said Galey,adding that it is important that damage is reported so others inthe path of the storm can be notified.